Student Research: Abigail Sutphen

MS, Exposure Sciences (ES), 2013
Faculty Advisor: Michael G. Yost

PPE Effectiveness in Agricultural Applications


Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is usually required for pesticide applications, but how effective it actually is against exposure to chlorpyrifos, solvents and oils is unknown. Therefore, a pilot study has been created to get a more accurate estimate of whether or not there is pesticide breakthrough while wearing a half mask respirator and 15 mil nitrile gloves and if so, when that breakthrough occurs.  An ambient sampling train and a sampling train behind a cartridge were created to compare the air concentrations in respirators, and positioned near the applicator during pesticide application. Passive media patches were placed underneath gloves to measure dermal exposure. Charcoal media was used to sample for horticultural oil, and PUF media was used to sample for chlorpyrifos. Two sites were sampled; chlorpyrifos and horticultural oil was sprayed at Site A and only horticultural oil was sprayed at site B. Media was changed out once a day. The sampling media was tested for hydrocarbons, alkanes, aromatics, chlorpyrifos, chlorpyrifos oxon, pentadecane, siloxanes and trimethyl benzene. The concentrations of the compounds were measured, and the frequency of breakthrough was calculated for each kind of media. A mass-to-mass ratio, comparing the ambient concentrations from the cartridge concentrations, was also calculated. The results show that the PPE that is worn is not providing adequate protection from the pesticides that are being sprayed, but more study is needed to elaborate on these results.